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Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements is becoming more consumer-responsive

The Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) 1998 annual report shows an institution evolving to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and in line with the changing role of the Joint Research Centre, of which it is part.

The major scientific achievements h...
The Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) 1998 annual report shows an institution evolving to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and in line with the changing role of the Joint Research Centre, of which it is part.

The major scientific achievements highlighted in the report focused on customer-related issues rather than the more traditional nuclear studies.

In 1998 the Institute produced the world's first certified reference materials for detecting genetically modified organisms in food, and provided 15,000 proficiency testing samples for the evaluation of BSE post-mortem tests in collaboration with the Commission's DG XXIV. It also developed chemical reference measurements for tracing hazardous substances in cosmetic products, and for the detection of radionuclides, trace elements and antibiotics in food.

The Institute was established in the late 1950s and early 1960s and over time science has changed. There is a demand for change that the Institute has responded to, and this change will continue.

Its research is picking up on customer-related concerns as they come up, helping European policy-makers in terms of practical advice based on relevant research.

The changes at IRMM are in line with the JRC's new philosophy. In order to fulfil its mission 'to promote a common European measurement system in support of EU policies, especially the Internal Market, environment, health, and consumer protection standards,' the IRMM has concentrated its core activities in three areas:
- JRC centre for reference materials and chemical reference measurements;
- JRC reference laboratory for isotopic measurements;
- JRC reference laboratory for neutron measurements.

The Institute has also incorporated a new customer-oriented research programme for the European Commission's Fifth Framework Programme.

In the future the IRMM intends to focus on the EU's objectives of removing barriers to trade, increasing competition, reducing the number of protected sectors and enlargement.

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